When The Gays first learned that Ted Olson, uber-conservative and defender of George W. Bush’s presidency, would be taking the lead in Perry v. Schwarzenegger, the case to decide gay marriage at a federal level, many folks, including Gay Inc. leaders, were suspicious of his motives. Was this guy going to purposefully throw the trial by putting forth a bunk argument in favor of marriage equality, and effectively ruin the gay marriage fight for everyone else? But as Perry has proceeded (we’re now in Week 3), the opposite appears to be true: Not only is Olson (and co-counsel Boies) throwing down arguments that makes gay marriage seem like the only reasonable thing to allow, it’s the defendants at Protect Marriage that appear to be purposefully throwing their own case. The National Organization for Marriage should be pissed!
When the defense called professor Kenneth Miller as its first witness, the court played witness not only to a man whose credentials as an expert on anything are seriously in doubt, but that his own conclusions about gays and marriage weren’t based on his own independent research. And then, in a mind-blowing admission on the stand (during what ended up as a nine-hour cross-examination) he admitted that yes, the Defense of Marriage Act — which, like Prop 8, prohibits government recognition of same-sex marriage — is discriminatory.
If that weren’t enough, Protect Marriage’s second witness on the stand managed to further damage their case.
David Blankenhorn (pictured), founder of the Institute for American Values (how official sounding!) and supposedly one of the defense’s “best” expert witnesses, got on the stand and helped sink the defense’s case. Under cross-examination, he acknowledged that, not three years a go in a book he authored, he wrote that this country would be “more American on the day we permit same-sex marriage than we were on the day before.”
He also dropped a bomb on one of Protect Marriage’s core arguments: That only heterosexual marriage is healthy enough to raise children. On the stand, Blankenhorn admitted he didn’t know of any scientific studies that said children raised by gay parents were worse off than the children of hetero parents. Moreover, Blankenhorn also dismissed the idea that two adoptive parents (even of the heterosexual variety) were just as good as biological parents. “No sir, that’s not correct,” he told Boies on cross.
Which means Protect Marriage’s second witness, in arguing against gay marriage (but proving its normalcy at the same time), is heretofore recommending we ban adoption too, because that’s just not as healthy for kids as two heterosexual biological parents. Think we’re making a leap? Consider that Blankenhorn’s argument against gay marriage rests on the same facts: it’s not as good as heterosexual marriage. No wonder Judge Vaughn Walker almost nixed Blankenhorn’s status as an “expert” witness.
Worth noting: Blankenhorn’s name was most recently attached to this Times op-ed, co-authored with Maggie Gallagher debate challenger Jonathan Rauch, that argues civil unions should be legalized, and the M-word not used — only because it’s too controversial and isn’t a good enough compromise with religious conservatives. Not because there’s a reasonable argument against giving gays full marriage rights.
No surprise the American Foundation for Equal Rights, which is footing Olson-Boies’ bill, blasted an email out headlined, “PROP. 8 CASE HEADS TO END WITH DEFENDANTS’ OWN WITNESSES MAKING PLAINTIFFS’ CASE.”